Australians travelling to Fiji are being warned of possible disruptions as unions fight what they say is a crackdown on workers’ rights by Fiji’s military government.
The Australian Transport Workers’ Union is threatening to delay – or even stop – flights from Monday.
The union is targetting Fiji’s tourism industry to protect Fijian baggage handlers and trade unionists, which the union says have been assaulted and threatened as part of a government campaign attacking workers rights and wages.
The union wants Qantas to ensure the rights of workers are upheld, including those that work for Air Pacific, which is joint operated by Qantas and the Fiji military government.
However, Qantas says it is a minority shareholder in Air Pacific and has no involvement in the day to day running of the airline.
Felix Anthony, from the Fiji Trades Union Congress, says he has been detained and beaten by soldiers questioning the union’s loyalty to the military administration.
“They punched us, they kicked us and in the case of my other colleagues they were also hit with rubber belts,” he said.
“It was pretty rough.”
An ATWU spokesman said Australians needed to support the Fijian workers.
“We’re calling on the Australian community to standby the Fijian community – not just the sun and surf – but give them an opportunity to enjoy the freedom and rights that we take for granted,” he said.